Divisions in the Conservative Party on Conscience Issues: Comment on Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart, ‘Party Rules, OK: Voting in the House of Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill’
Cowley and Stuart argue that, while conscience issues remain primarily party issues, the parties, and most particularly the Conservative Party, are becoming more cohesive. This article engages with their work on two fronts. First, we suggest that their assertion that the Conservative Party is more united than it was needs some qualification. Second, we argue that the divisions within the two main parties need to be explained; an issue to which, we suggest, Cowley and Stuart pay insufficient attention. We conclude with a brief consideration of the likely fate of the abortion issue, given the composition of House of Commons after the 2010 General Election.